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Like the state of California, many local communities in Orange County are facing a housing crisis, especially further worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the potential rise in evictions.

A wide variety of reasons are the root causes of this particular situation that impacts nearly everyone who either owns or rents a place to live in.

Rules and regulations such as single-family residential zoning, mandatory parking minimums and maximums, exclusionary zoning, building-height restrictions and Proposition 13—the 1978 ballot initiative that capped how much all local governments statewide could collect from all local property taxes—have been known to stagnate the rate or development of building more residential housing.

Also, commodities for the rich such as country clubs, mansions and golf courses, which take up significant amounts of natural resources, have become recent obstacles toward easing the housing crisis.

Additionally, tenants’ rights are currently either not strong enough for protection enforcement or lack protection enforcement. Because of these reasons, we need to embrace a pro-housing “Yes in My Backyard” (or YIMBY) policy approach to expand housing for all.

These policies must include abolishing single-family residential zoning, mandatory parking minimums and maximums, exclusionary zoning, building-height restrictions and historical preservation altogether, and implementing a total ban on all short-term residential property rentals and leases in order to increase the number of residential units or spaces.

Also, repealing Proposition 13 and implementing progressive taxation to fund permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals, social housing for low-income earners, universal housing assistance programs, housing cooperatives, community land trusts and resident-owned communities could make residential housing more cost-effective for ordinary working people.

If cities such as San Clemente were to implement these particular pro-housing solutions, as well as pro-tenants’ rights protections, we can expand our local economy.

We as a coastal community in the most populous state in the country must modernize toward the future and not stick with the bygone eras of the past when it comes to housing development, so let us say yes, in my backyard by the sea.

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